EWRT 1C Class
The Short Story
AGENDA
 Short Story Discussion: “The Story of an Hour”
 Author Introduction: Kate Chopin
 Historical Content
 Literary...
Kate Chopin
Katherine O’Flaherty was born
February 8, 1851, in St. Louis.
Her father was an Irish merchant
and her mother ...
Early life
 Kate’s father was killed in a train
accident in 1855 (the imagined
effect on her mother was later
depicted in...
Marriage, Family, and Money
 At twenty, Kate married Oscar
Chopin, a young,
cosmopolitan businessman.
Kate gave birth to ...
Life’s Work
 The death of her husband, and soon after, her mother,
and her own unconventional ideas demanded that she
mak...
 Kate Chopin’s reputation as a writer faded soon after her death.
Her 1899 novel, The Awakening, was out of print for 50 ...
Historical Content: The
Woman Question
 "The Story of an Hour" was published in 1894, an era in
which many social and cul...
Though not granted the right to vote until 1920, women
began struggle for their enfranchisement Seneca Falls,
NY in 1848. ...
Literary Style
 “The Story of an Hour” is told
from a detached, third-person
limited point of view through
Louise, the only character
wh...
Setting
 Chopin does not offer many clues as to where or when the
action of the story takes place, other than in the Mall...
Chopin uses irony, a technique that
reveals the distance between what
appears to be true and what is
actually true, to con...
Group Discussion
QHQs
 Q: What’s the theme in this short story?
 Q: What does it mean for Mrs. Mallard to “die
of heart disease–of the jo...
For Thought
1. Discuss Mrs. Mallard as a sympathetic
character or as a cruel and selfish character.
How might your own gen...
Do you think Chopin's critique of the
institution of marriage, as expressed by
Louise, is applicable today?
1. Q: Who is M...
Discuss the story through one
critical lens
 New Criticism
 Feminist Criticism
 Psychoanalytic Criticism
 Read : “A Very Old Man with Enormous
Wings”
 Post #16: Choose one
 Speculate on the identity of the “old
man.”
 How d...
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Ewrt 1 c class 23 post qhq

  1. 1. EWRT 1C Class The Short Story
  2. 2. AGENDA  Short Story Discussion: “The Story of an Hour”  Author Introduction: Kate Chopin  Historical Content  Literary Style  Questions  QHQ
  3. 3. Kate Chopin Katherine O’Flaherty was born February 8, 1851, in St. Louis. Her father was an Irish merchant and her mother was the daughter of an old French family. Chopin’s early fluency with French and English, and her roots in two different cultures, were important throughout her life. Chopin, Kate. The Awakening: An Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Edited by Margaret Culley. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.
  4. 4. Early life  Kate’s father was killed in a train accident in 1855 (the imagined effect on her mother was later depicted in “The Story of an Hour”).  At the age of eighteen, Kate was known as one of St. Louis’ prettiest and most popular. Her diary, however, shows that the stress of the social pressures to be feminine pushed against her passion to read her favorites: Victor Hugo, Dante, Molière, Jane Austen, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  5. 5. Marriage, Family, and Money  At twenty, Kate married Oscar Chopin, a young, cosmopolitan businessman. Kate gave birth to five sons and a daughter. Important themes in her fiction include motherhood’s joys and demands, as well as societal restraints on women.  Her husband, worn down by financial worries, died in 1882, leaving Kate with a huge debt and six children to raise alone.
  6. 6. Life’s Work  The death of her husband, and soon after, her mother, and her own unconventional ideas demanded that she make her own way. She started her first short story in 1888, and became a published author in 1889 when her poem “If It Might Be” appeared in the journal America. Her stories and sketches from this early period show that she questioned traditional romance. “Wiser Than a God” depicts a woman who chooses a career as pianist over marriage. Other stories portray a suffragist and a professional woman who try to determine their own lives. Chopin’s friends during this period included “New Women”—single working women, suffragists, and intellectuals—who doubtless influenced her previously private questioning of women’s role in society.
  7. 7.  Kate Chopin’s reputation as a writer faded soon after her death. Her 1899 novel, The Awakening, was out of print for 50 years. By the late 1960’s, however, Norwegian writer Per Seyersted rediscovered Chopin and edited The Complete Works and a critical biography in 1969. Chopin’s reputation blossomed, and her novel is considered a classic, taught in university literature and women’s studies courses. Largely through the attention of scholars and critics, Chopin’s work has enjoyed a renaissance. Her writing illustrates a variety of feminist concerns: the clash between individual freedom and social duty; the stifling quality of unequal marriage; the hypocrisy of the sexual double standard; women’s desire for creativity and independence.
  8. 8. Historical Content: The Woman Question  "The Story of an Hour" was published in 1894, an era in which many social and cultural questions occupied Americans' minds. One of these, referred to as the "Woman Question," involved which roles were acceptable for women to assume in society. Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species (1892) had further incited this controversy. Darwin's theory of evolution was used by both sides of the issue; some argued the theory supported female self- assertion and independence, others felt the theory proved that motherhood should be the primary role of a woman in society.
  9. 9. Though not granted the right to vote until 1920, women began struggle for their enfranchisement Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. In 1869, the 15th Amendment granted suffrage to black men. Several prominent feminists, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, refused to support the amendment because it denied women the vote. Others argued that women’s rights would soon follow black enfranchisement. In 1890, the two groups united to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The suffrage movement sought reform, yet mainstream Victorian culture still supported the self-sacrificing wife, dependent on her husband and devoted to her family, as the ideal of femininity.
  10. 10. Literary Style
  11. 11.  “The Story of an Hour” is told from a detached, third-person limited point of view through Louise, the only character whose thoughts are accessible. At the beginning of the story, Louise is unable to consider her own position in the world. As she becomes aware of her emotions and new situation, the reader gains access to her thinking, and therefore, her character. At the end of the story, the reader is abruptly cut off from her thoughts, as Chopin manipulates the narrative point of view to underscore the theme of the story.
  12. 12. Setting  Chopin does not offer many clues as to where or when the action of the story takes place, other than in the Mallard's house. This general setting supports the theme of commonly accepted views of the appropriate roles for women in society. Given Chopin's other works and the concerns she expresses about women's role in marriage in this story and in other writings, the reader can assume that the story takes place during Chopin's lifetime, the late nineteenth century. However, Chopin was known for being a local colorist, a writer who focuses on a particular people in a particular locale. In Chopin's case, her stories are usually set among the Cajun and Creole societies in Louisiana. For this reason, "The Story of an Hour" is usually assumed to take place in Louisiana.
  13. 13. Chopin uses irony, a technique that reveals the distance between what appears to be true and what is actually true, to conclude her story. In ''The Story of an Hour," there is incongruity between what is understood to be true by the characters within the drama and what is understood by the reader. What killed Mrs. Mallard? While Brently Mallard, Richards, Josephine, and the doctors might believe her weak heart gave out upon such sudden happiness, readers are led to suspect that sudden grief killed her. At the story's conclusion, the story's first line, "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble," becomes ironic—referring to Mrs. Mallard's spiritual condition and not to a medical condition. The story's concluding line, she died "from the joy that kills," is also ironic.
  14. 14. Group Discussion
  15. 15. QHQs  Q: What’s the theme in this short story?  Q: What does it mean for Mrs. Mallard to “die of heart disease–of the joy that kills?”  Q: Does/did Mrs. Mallard love her husband?
  16. 16. For Thought 1. Discuss Mrs. Mallard as a sympathetic character or as a cruel and selfish character. How might your own gender, age, class or ethnicity influence your response?  I feel it is difficult to interpret whether Louise was cold-hearted as she may have been described through her thoughts and actions.  While reading this short story, Mrs. Mallard struck me not as cruel, but actually selfish.  Is Louise a true, selfish, or traumatized character?
  17. 17. Do you think Chopin's critique of the institution of marriage, as expressed by Louise, is applicable today? 1. Q: Who is Mrs. Mallard and what does she tell us about a social view of not only women but of marriage? 2. Q: What is the significance of the name “Mallard” in “The Story of an Hour?”
  18. 18. Discuss the story through one critical lens  New Criticism  Feminist Criticism  Psychoanalytic Criticism
  19. 19.  Read : “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”  Post #16: Choose one  Speculate on the identity of the “old man.”  How does the manner in which Garcia Marquez treats the traditional idea of angels in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" compare with the way angels are represented or interpreted elsewhere, in some other work or media?  Speculate on how you might apply an extrinsic critical lens to this story. Use textual evidence to support your argument.  Discuss trauma in the story. Who suffers it? How and why?  QHQ

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